New York Post
February 8, 2004


By Sam Smith

As health inspectors scoured Manhattan's "poison" precinct last week, cops who spent time there wonder if their inexplicable illnesses could be tied to the house.

The 24th Precinct on West 100th Street has been plagued by an abnormally high rate of miscarriages, cancer and facial paralysis for two decades.

An independent health inspector hired by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association as well as investigators from the state visited the precinct Wednesday taking air and water samples, checking specifically for lead and carbon monoxide levels.

"I ordered independent, wide-ranging environmental tests at the 24th Precinct because we need to know if there is an environmental health risk there once and for all," said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

Cops who've spent time at the precinct are anxious for answers, too.

Joe Crocitto, stationed there for five years in the 1970s, developed facial paralysis and a deterioration of muscle soon after.

"I wonder if my present illness and my assignment to the 24th Precinct are connected," he said.

Desiree Driscoll served at the 24th Precinct for seven years. In December 2002, she started suffering from an array of unexplained maladies, including irritability and extreme loss of memory and the ability to concentrate.

"I'd get lost in my own neighborhood," said the 35-year-old officer.

Her face went numb and still has a slight droop, but since she left the precinct, her memory has improved.

Despite a battery of tests, her doctor has found nothing to explain her problems, she said.

"I used to say, 'This building is making me sick,' " she said. "I feel bad for the people still there."